Friday, 13 August 2010


Hello everyone firstly I must apologies for not keeping this as up to date as I would have liked. Things have been very busy as of late and my time has been pulled in many directions.

So i suppose the best start is to give you an update of what I have done from the last time i posted until now ! Our degree show opening night was very successful and Grays was crammed to the rafters so a very positive night for all. The following week was also successful and although maybe not as busy as we had all hoped (although now I think our hopes may have been a little unrealistic) but all the same very positive and I would like to thank everyone who came.

I was also lucky enough to be awarded a first class for my project – something which I don’t think I can ever put into words how pleased I feel about. As you all know from this blog this project has been something very personal to me and strongly relates to personal and social issues which are very close to my heart so after all the late nights and endless hours of work it is a fantastic feeling to see it being recognised.

But just because university is over does not mean that my work stops here and I have decided that the knowledge that I can offer and my approach to design is too much to turn my back on. If anything I owe it to not only myself but to every other patient and medical professional that I have spoken to and worked with over the past year to peruse this further. With this in mind I am pleased to announce that I have started up my own company so watch this space !

So where from here ? I still have a long road in my recovery process and although this is not a position I would like to be in, I would rather make the best out of the situation as I can. My partner has also had to go through several surgeries as of late and so I intend to use his personal experiences as well to not only get a male perspective but to also broaden my range of specialism and injuries. This is what I am now going to use this blog for as a continual documentation of my research and experiences.

I am also keen to expand my knowledge further into the psychological side of trauma as well as the physical and want to show other people in my age group that there is hope, a way forward and how to turn their negative situation into a positive one. If anyone is interested in talking to me about any of this please feel free to contact me.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Isla the PA Bunny

I have been extremely fortunate to have had a lot of publicity around my product and the degree show. Including some airtime on the radio via North sound (I will try and get clips up when I work out how) and also in the press including the evening express, the Sun and the Press and Journal.

I received a lot of phone calls from my feature in the Press and Journal, in particular those contacts that I have in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire where I was fortunate enough to be featured on the front page. It is certainly very bizarre to have people recognising you in the street and I have had several people contact me wanting to buy one, which I take as a massive compliment. It is also good to get feedback from real life patients and I hope that through expanding my contacts that I can build on and refine my designs further.

I have a meeting with ARI and their orthotic dept later this month so fingers crossed that all goes well but needless to say I see wonderful things to come from this project. I have also been approached regarding looking into the design of a neck brace so watch this space!! I am looking for new projects and to expand on this one.

Degree Show Ho !

As our degree show fast approaches we are manically trying to get everything done in time to ensure that we put on a good show for you all. I have some finishing to do on the material covers for my panels as there was a last minute change in presentation set up so no doubt I will be sewing like a crazy person all day Thursday to get them done ready for final set up on the Friday.

We open for the VIP viewing on Friday with the show opening to the public on Saturday which runs for a week until Saturday the 26th so I do urge you to all come and look forward to seeing you there !

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Its all about the Brand.

Blurb Books

As part of my hand in I have chosen to condense my years work into a small book using Blurb and their Book Smart software. As a class we are all using this format to communicate essential elements of our projects for the degree show whether it the processes that you have used the research which you have conducted or a bit of both I think it is a wonderful way to condense a years worth of work in a much more appealing format. I also think it’s a great keepsake for when you leave for the same reason.


To reflect the focus on psychological pressures and addressing social stigma’s in the products design I have chosen to name the final product Embrace.

This reflects the philosophy behind the product. The ‘Em’ stands for emotional to reflect the psychological consideration in the design of the product and its impact on a patient rehabilitation process.

However it also works as a whole, through encouraging the patient to embrace their situation. This reflects the attention to aspects such as the promotion of greater patient independence and better mental well being with minimum social stigma. The logo is also intended to reflect this.

We have also been incredibly busy this week promoting not only ourselves but also our products as well. This has manifested itself very positively for me and I have received a lot of positive feedback about my work so watch this space !!

I have also done a new video as a brief comparison between exiting designs and my new one so I hope to get that up sometime this week.

recognition of the specialism

Orthopaedics as a specialism has often been neglected as a specialism even though it is an area which holds some of the most exciting and dramatic developments in medicine. There have been huge steps made in the treatment of orthopaedic problems with the development in areas such as medical implants and orthobiologics but there has still been very little regard for what happens to the patient once they leave hospital which is the area I am keen to address.

I think this has also been from a growing interest in things such as thr media and society. The Independent recently that road traffic accidents are the leading cause of disablement and death for those aged 45 and under. It is also said that 1 in 2 of us will have some form of orthopaedic problem in our lifetime which means that around 50% of the UK population will be directly effected although through the rule of 7 degrees of separation this will probably impact everyone to some extent whether it is through helping a family member to helping out a college at work.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Not long to go

Our degree show and hand in are fast approaching so its all go here as we rush to get everything done in time. The space is now painted the plinths are n the middle of construction and we are putting the finishing touches to our models. Thanks to the incredible help that is Fraser I am fortunate enough to have my model and mannequin finished. Although unfortunately this does not mean that I have no work to do, I am now at the point of refinement so it’s all about crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s.

I am currently working on refining how I want to present my work and putting together so display boards to show my progression of work. I am also working on a video which compares the current design to my design in aspects such as weight, lifestyle impact and ease to get on and off so keep your eyes peeled for that coming soon.


I was asked to present at TraumaCare last month which was a fantastic experience. TraumaCare is an international medical conference which encourages a multidisciplinary approach in medicine. I was presenting on the Emotional Trauma of Rehabilitation and the Patient Perspective.

TraumaCare have done a lot of work to raise awareness of trauma as a specialism and I would certainly recommend that you check out their website at:

This was a fantastic experience and something which I really enjoyed, The presentation went very well, regardless of the tech gremlins and I have received some very positive feedback about both the presentation and my work which is such a confidence boost. I just want to say a huge thank you to Professor David Alexander for being my travel companion and putting my name forward to present, it is something which I thought I would never be able to do without his support and guidance.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Material Choices

I have chosen to keep the material choices quite plain and simple for the material outer. I am using fleece for the inner lining and then a cotton linen mix for the outer lining both of which will be neutral colours of white/cream.

The intention is that this is the piece which would be given as standard with the patient but that there would also be a subsidiary option where the patient can buy other covers in different colours and designs. By keeping the materials plain I also wanted to encourage the element of customisability. I made my brace my own and acceptable to me by having friends and family sign and draw on it which is something which I want to encourage other patients to do in whatever way they please whether it is to stitch on additional details or by using fabric paints.

More than just a Product Designer

The one thing I love about being a product designer is the ability to span into other specialism’s so that you can approach your work with a lot more of a multidisciplinary approach.

For example for this project I have covered everything from fashion to medicine and engineering. For me this is the best way to work as you develop a much broader perspective on your work. At the moment I am focusing on developing the material outer for the rigid panels to be put in. I have taken inspiration from corsetry design for this and have been working with a seamstress to develop this further as although I did the prototype myself I have taken it to them for the final to ensure it is a more respectable standard for the final presentation.